Greece passes new law to better monitor NGOs dealing with migration

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters on Tuesday that the new law would help "control the activities of hundreds of NGOs operating in Greece". [EPA/STRATIS BALASKAS]

A new law providing a special registry for all non-governmental organisations (NGOs), their employees and partners, was voted on yesterday (4 February).

It is supposed to help the government regulate and control who takes part in migration crisis management, as well as the role it plays.

The bill came right after new riots began in Northern Aegean islands, both from citizens and refugees, due to the increased number of migrant flows.

Deputy Migration Minister George Koumoutsakos has denounced the illegal networks of financial exploitation of immigrants involving NGOs, lawyers and doctors.

Government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters on Tuesday that the new law would help “control the activities of hundreds of NGOs operating in Greece”.

Petsas said the registry will include “members, staff and partners of organisations, so there is transparency and responsibility, as many NGOs may have helped decisively” in managing the issue of migration, “but others operated in a faulty and parasitic manner.”

The new law also provides that the registry will be overseen by a specially appointed secretary.

The law is supposed to be about NGOs working on migration and social inclusion, but it is still unclear if the wording used in the bill will affect all NGOs operating in Greece.

Previous legislation from the then leftist government of SYRIZA in 2016 and 2018 provided also for such a registry for both Greek and foreign NGOs but did not include regulations for registration and certification of official staff or any person.

EURACTIV’s media partner Athens-Macedonian News Agency quoted sources from the prime minister’s office as saying that “already registered NGOs will have to register individual members, personnel and partners within three months”.

[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos]

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